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Miami Mini Guide

If you follow me on Instagram, you know Max and I recently spent a few days in Miami for a quick getaway. We both love Miami, and each of us have been there so many times, so I wanted to do a quick round-up of some of our favorite spots!

Miami is such a fun, vibrant city anytime of the year, but I have to say spring is my favorite time to go. This is the first time I’ve gone in April specifically, and the weather was better than I can ever remember it. It wasn’t quite as humid as I’ve experienced in the summer, and we were lucky enough to have super breezy days, which made the beach H E A V E N L Y. We also opted to go during the week so as to avoid the heavy spring break crowds on the weekends…is this a sign that we’re getting old? Regardless, it was the perfect mix of quiet, but not empty, and crowded but not over-crowded. The perfect quick beach vacay!

Miami

Miami

Scroll down for all of our recommendations for where to eat, sleep, play, etc. in Miami! If you want to shop any of my swimsuits and outfits, you can find direct links at the bottom of the post!

EAT

One of my favorites things to do anywhere is eat. I love experiencing a city through its food (and drinks!). One of the first things I do when planning a vacation is research where we’re going to eat. For me, great restaurants can make or break a trip!

Both of us have some serious dietary restrictions (MR is allergic to all nuts, fish and shellfish, berries, and chocolate) and I do not eat most meats (only chicken and fish), so finding a restaurant where we’re both excited about the food AND which also has a great atmosphere is no small feat!

Below are some of our faves from our trips to Miami! These are in alphabetical order NOT in order of favorites! Also worth noting, for lunch we almost always eat on the beach so the below recommendations are based on our dinner experiences.

Bâoli:

Photos Courtesy of Bâoli

I’ve been to Bâoli a few times, and each of them has been a great experience. From the streetside, you’d miss the restaurant if you weren’t looking for it, but inside the building opens into an outdoor courtyard with a canopy of trees, string lights, and trendy décor.

Bâoli is known for its lively nightlife scene, and on peak nights it basically turns into a nightclub after a certain hour. The food is excellent, but it’s the lively party vibe that draws people in. I’ve been on a weekend when there is a line around the block and a bouncer at the door…for a restaurant. If you read my guide to Mykonos, it reminds me so much of one of our favorite restaurants, Interni. It’s definitely one of those “come for the dinner, stay for the party” type of places. If you’re looking for an upscale dinner restaurant where you can still party late into the night without going to an official club, then you will not be disappointed by Bâoli. Needless to say, reservations are a must!

The Bazaar by José Andrés:

Photo Courtesy of Miami New Times

This trip was the first time we’ve gone to The Bazaar and Max and I were both completely blown away by the food. This tapas-style restaurant is a foodie heaven! Every dish is served with its own unique flare, and even classic dishes have a personal twist.

The décor is a definite MOOD. It’s almost meant to look like an old library, but with a definite eclectic vibe. This is no surprise, since it’s located in the SLS hotel, which is another Philippe Starck design. It is also worth noting that we went on a Monday night at 9:30pm and the restaurant was packed, which in my opinion says a lot about the quality of food and atmosphere. They were also very accommodating and careful of Max’s allergies, which was a major bonus for us!

This is one of those places that you look at the menu and just want to try everything, which we basically did. I managed to take pictures of all of our dishes from the night, though forgive me for the low quality since it was super dark in the restaurant! The pictures definitely do not do the food justice, but I wanted to at least attempt to capture the unique platings!

For reference, Max ordered the tortilla de patatas, the piquillo relleno de caña de cabra, the Cuban coffee rubbed churrasco, the croquetas de pollo, and the patatas bravas. He also had flan for dessert!

I ordered the caviar cone (x2), the dragon fruit ceviche, the yellowtail Hamachi, the creamy coconut rice, and shared some of Max’s dishes. I also wanted to try the frozen blue cheese sandwich, but was too stuffed at the end to try it! The highlight of the meal for me was the frozen caipirinha prepared tableside (pictures below!)

We ordered everything all at once per their request, but they did a great job of pacing all of the dishes accordingly to allow us time to enjoy each one. It was by far one of my favorite meals ever in Miami and we cannot wait to go back and sample everything we didn’t get a chance to try the first time!

MiamiTortilla de Patatas “New Way”MiamiCaviar ConeMiamiCaviar Cone MiamiPiquillo Relleno de Caña de CabraMiamiDragon Fruit CevicheMiamiYellowtail Hamachi
MiamiPatatas Bravas
MiamiCreamy Coconut RiceMiamiCuban Coffee Rubbed ChurrascoMiamiCroquetas de PolloMiamiPaletasMiamiTraditional FlanMiamiLN2 CaipirinhaMiamiLN2 Caipirinha

Cleo Mediterráneo:

Photo Courtesy of Cleo

We stumbled upon Cleo by accident one trip a few years ago. We both love Mediterranean food, and Cleo’s menu of small, sharable plates and casual atmosphere was very appealing to us!

I think we ordered pretty much every dish on the “Cleo Mezze” side of the menu plus a couple of larger plates. I love that they had so many vegetarian options for me and plenty of meat options for Max. The food was fantastic and the vibe was much more relaxed and calm than other places in Miami. It was a perfect spot for a casual night out!

Havana 1957:

Photo Courtesy of Havana 1957

Havana 1957 (the Española way location) is one of those restaurants that pretty much everyone who’s been to Miami has dined in at one point or another. It can get pretty touristy, but it also gives you a chance to try some Cuban food, which Miami is famous for. I have been here for both lunch and dinner plus walked by it many times and the place is always packed and playing lively music. The outdoor dining areas are super cute and the little side street it’s situated on is also picturesque. It’s extremely casual and affordable, and despite being a bit touristy and commercial, it’s worth a try for lunch!

Katsuya:

Photo Courtesy of Katsuya

I have a weakness for good sushi, and I absolutely loved Katsuya when I first tried it a few years ago. It’s located in the SLS (it actually shares an outdoor bar area with The Bazaar), and has a distinctly Miami vibe. Despite being a sushi restaurant, there was a good selection of non-seafood options, which made it an easier sell for MR, who rarely indulges my sushi cravings since he can eat next to nothing on the menu!

The crowd is definitely lively here on the weekends, especially due to its location in the SLS next to another popular restaurant and nightclub!

SLEEP

Miami

Miami

There are a ton of great hotel options in Miami, but Max and I usually limit ourselves to staying in the main part of South Beach on Collins Avenue. The hotels there have direct beach access and are walking distance to a ton of great restaurants, which is a key feature for us.

On our most recent trip we stayed at the Delano Hotel. The Delano is a boutique hotel designed by Philippe Starck, so you know it’s going to have an eclectic vibe. The lobby is super dark with soaring ceilings and curtains and the pool area is massive and luxurious. We spent most of our days at the beach, where the food and drinks were surprisingly amazing. I sipped on fresh coconuts with rum and the quinoa salad I had for lunch each day was fresh, delicious, and surprisingly filling. I was beyond impressed with their drinks, food, and service!

We’ve also previously stayed at the SLS and the Loews hotels and enjoyed our time at both!

MiamiDinner Outfit Night 1

MiamiDinner Outfit Night 2

INSTAGRAM

I couldn’t call myself a blogger if I didn’t mention the best spots for a ‘gram!

The Wynwood Walls art district has become a huge tourist spot for those looking for the perfect photo backdrop. Aside from being one of the most instagrammable spots in Miami, the district showcases local and international street artists and has covered over 80,000 square feet of walls.

Photo Courtesy of Wynwood Walls

I first visited Wynwood in 2016, and it has continued to grow since then. I loved walking through all of the colorful walls and galleries, and it was great to experience a daytime activity in Miami that wasn’t centered around the beach. Miami is known for its art scene, and this district did not disappoint! The only drawback is that it’s about a 20 minute drive from South Beach, but the experience is well worth it.

Photos Courtesy of Catch a Star Fine Art

The lifeguard stands on South Beach are Instagram-worthy all on their own. Each of them has their own unique design, and their vibrant color schemes embody the spirit of the city.

The stands have become iconic landmarks of South Beach, and the photo ops are endless! You can also buy fine art prints of the photos I featured here (and more) from Catch a Star Fine Art.

Miami

Miami

If you’re planning a trip to Miami and have any questions I didn’t address here, let me know and I’d be happy to help you! Also, if you have any amazing Miami recs, please let me know and I’ll try them out on our next trip!

Miami

Miami

As always, thank you for reading and sharing! XOXO

By Paces West

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